Washington Redacteds: Hometown Newspaper Announces Editorial Page Ban on Team Name

Washington Redacteds: Hometown Newspaper Announces Editorial Page Ban on Team Name

Nearly four in five Americans don’t think the Redskins should change their name. Support among Washington Post editorial board members for ditching “Redskins” remains significantly higher.

The Redskins’ hometown paper has long called on the team to come up with a new nickname from its editorial-page perch. But the newspaper that brought down Richard Nixon hasn’t been as effective in bringing down “Redskins.” Impotent to get ownership to change the name, the editorial page has decided to stop using the word that they have long called on the team to stop using. And in true grandstander fashion, the Post uses the forbidden word to headline their editorial boasting that they refuse to use the forbidden word any longer. That’s not a promising start to the Washington Redskins becoming the Washington Redacteds.

The Post announces that “the matter seems clearer to us now than ever, and while we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves.” Presumably, the 79 percent of Americans who disagree with the Post don’t represent “thoughtful opinion,” to say nothing of “common decency.” 

The Post fingers former NFL referee Mike Carey, who earlier this week admitted to asking out of officiating Redskins games because of objections to the name, as one figure representing such attributes. The editorial praised his “quiet integrity.” The Post points out, “He never made any announcement about it.”

The Post could have imitated Carey’s “quiet integrity” and permitted self-censorship for writers objecting to the word without fanfare. Instead, they did the opposite. They made a loud announcement that they so object to the term that anybody writing in the name of the editorial page no longer would be permitted to say “Redskins.” At the same time that they say this, they do the opposite by using the term–as though quotation marks quoting no one in particular work as as a magic trick enabling them to say the word without actually saying it–in the headline and the text of the article. The do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do approach sums up Washington nicely.

Rather than focus on the nickname, the Post would be wise to ponder the widespread public disapproval of the geographic designation that the team shares with the newspaper. Just 11 percent of respondents told the Associated Press that the Redskins should change their name. Do more Americans have a favorable opinion of Washington?

Hail to the Redskins. Washington? Not so much.